February 1, 2022; revised May 15, 2023 (#6 )
Wrong views (micchā diṭṭhi) play the dominant role in akusala cittā. The same akusala kamma done by someone with wrong views leads to a much stronger kamma vipāka than the same kamma done by another person without wrong views.
Critical Role of Wrong Views
1. Wrong views in Buddha Dhamma refer to wrong views about the nature of our world.
- The Buddha taught that our world operates on a set of natural laws based on the laws of kamma.
- The first level of wrong views is not believing in the laws of kamma. They include not believing that immoral deeds (akusala kamma) will bring dire consequences (bad kamma vipāka) and that good kamma will bring good kamma vipāka. Another is not believing in the rebirth process. They fall under the ten types of micchā diṭṭhi. See, “Micchā Diṭṭhi, Gandhabba, and Sōtapanna Stage.”
- Someone who does not have the ten types of micchā diṭṭhi can learn the correct version of Buddha Dhamma and get rid of the second and deeper layer of micchā diṭṭhi. An average human thinks that the world is of nicca, sukha, and atta nature, i.e., it is possible to have a happy future. However, the “future” in Buddha Dhamma is not restricted to this life but also to future lives. Realizing the true anicca, dukkha, and anatta nature will remove that deeper layer of wrong views.
Akusala Kamma Based on Akusala Citta
2. There are ten types of akusala kamma, three by the mind, four by speech, and three by bodily actions. However, akusala kamma by speech and bodily actions also originate in the mind. In other words, 12 types of cittā (loosely called “thoughts”) are responsible for all akusala kamma.
- Thus, all ten akusala kamma are done with these 12 akusala cittā. There are eight greed-rooted, two hatred-rooted, and two delusion-rooted cittā. Of course, cittā (pronounced “chiththā”) are thoughts; any speech or bodily action starts with a thought.
- As we know, all akusala cittā arise in mind due to lobha (greed), dosa (anger), and moha (delusion). Out of 12 akusala cittā, eight arise due to greed, 2 with anger, and 2 with delusion (a worse form of avijjā.)
Lōbha (Greedy) Citta (Also has the mōha root)
1. Citta connected with wrong views, accompanied by pleasure, and done with the habit (gati).
2. Citta connected with wrong views, accompanied by pleasure, and done reluctantly (with encouragement by others.)
3. Citta without wrong views, accompanied by pleasure and done with habit.
4. Citta without wrong views, accompanied by pleasure and done reluctantly.
5. Citta connected with wrong views, accompanied by a neutral feeling, and done with habit.
6. Citta connected with wrong views, accompanied by a neutral feeling, and done reluctantly.
7. Citta without wrong views, accompanied by neutral feeling and done with habit.
8. Citta without wrong views, accompanied by neutral feeling and done reluctantly.
Dōsa (Angry/Hateful) Citta (Also has the mōha root)
9. Citta associated with hate, accompanied by displeasure, done with habit.
10. Citta associated with hate, accompanied by displeasure, done reluctantly.
Mōha Citta (only with the mōha root, i.e., without greed or anger)
11. Citta accompanied by a neutral feeling and associated with vicikiccā (not aware of bad consequences)
12. Citta accompanied by a neutral feeling and associated with uddacca (excited/scattered mind).
The Strong Influence of Wrong Views
3. One starts on the Noble Eightfold Path as a Sotapanna (or Sotapanna Anugāmi) by getting rid of both layers of wrong views discussed in #1 above.
- At the Sōtapanna stage, three of the ten samyōjana (fetters) are removed, and thereby akusala cittā #1, 2, 5, 6, and 11 stop arising. Furthermore, apāyagāmi strength in the other types of cittā goes away.
- Thus, a Sotapanna does not need to control the arising of such cittā consciously. Such cittā WILL NOT arise for any reason.
- Therefore, only the remaining seven types of cittā can arise in the mind of a Sotapanna.
Effect of Attaining Higher Stages of Nibbāṇa
4. The remaining akusala cittā are progressively removed as one gets to the higher stages of Nibbāṇa.
- The potency of the two paṭigha-rooted cittā, and the remaining four greed-based citta, i.e., kāma rāga, are reduced at the Sakadāgami stage.
- The two paṭigha-rooted cittā (#9, #10) stop from arising at the Anāgāmi stage. Also, the potency of the remaining four greed-based citta, i.e., kāma rāga, is reduced to just kāma level.
- Finally, the remaining four greed-based citta (#3, #4, #7, #8) and the uddacca citta (#12) stop from arising at the Arahant stage. Thus an Arahant will never experience any akusala cittā.
5. Generally, the kammic strength of cittās in each category decreases in descending order. Thus citta #1 is stronger than any other in that category. citta #9 is stronger than #10. Citta #11 is stronger than #12.
- With higher magga phala, the strengths of ALL cittā are reduced, and some cease arising altogether.
- As we can see, a Sotapanna mainly removes wrong views. But that will also reduce the strength of other types of cittā. Thus kāma rāga is reduced too for a Sotapanna; it is further reduced for a Sakadāgami and stops at the Anāgāmi stage.
Role of Gati/Anusaya and Association with Asappurisa (“Bad People”) with Wrong Views
6. As we can see, the strongest lobha citta (#1) arises due to one’s bad gati (character/habits.) Such cittā arise automatically.
- A common question is: “Where are anusaya or defilements stored?”
- They stay with the hadaya vatthu. Of course, at the cuti-paṭisandhi moment, existing anusaya are transferred to the new hadaya vatthu created by kammic energy. Thus, anusaya keep changing during each lifetime, but are eliminated in stages with each stage of magga phala. See “Conditions for the Four Stages of Nibbāna.”
- Records of all memories (nāmagotta) remain intact in the nāma loka or viññāṇa dhātu.
- For details, see “Nāma Loka and Rupa Loka – Two Parts of Our World,” “What are Rūpa? – Dhammā are Rūpa too!” and “Where Are Memories Stored? – Viññāṇa Dhātu.”
7. In some cases, one may engage in evil deeds due to the influence of immoral friends (asappurisa), and cittā of type #2 can arise. Such citta have weaker strength. However, if one continues associating with such friends, one may cultivate such bad gati and thus start generating the worse type (#1) of akusala cittā.
- On the other hand, if one associate with “good/Noble friends” (sappurisa), one will get rid of bad gati and cultivate good gati.
- Several suttas point out the importance of choosing one’s associates/friends. See, for example, “Dutiyaasappurisa Sutta (SN 45.26).” More at “30 results for asappurisa.”
Value of Abhidhamma
8. The above analysis of akusala citta is in basic Abhidhamma.
- Abhidhamma can become very useful in resolving “knotty issues.” Once the basics are understood, it is possible to avoid lengthy explanations of certain concepts.
- See p. 32 of Ref. 1 for further details. Also, see “Akusala Citta and Akusala Vipāka Citta” and “Conditions for the Four Stages of Nibbāna.”
1. “Bhikkhu_Bodhi-Comprehensive_Manual_of_Abhidhamma,” by Bhikkhu Bodhi (2000); this is a revised and updated version of Ref. 2 below. There is a pdf file that can be downloaded (click the link to open the pdf).
2. “A Manual of Abhidhamma” by Narada Thero (1979).